By Cam Alsbrook
On Oct. 1, Cameron student organization volunteers and unaffiliated volunteers helped clean and repaint Elmer Thomas Park, as part of the Day in the Park Campus Life event.
Coordinator of Campus Life Daniel McFadden said that five student organizations pitched in, with more than 30 students total committing to picking up trash across the park, as well as painting fences, guard rails, gates and curbs.
McFadden said he and the rest of the Office of Campus Life personnel are happy with the turnout of students for Day in the Park.
“We were able to complete a lot of different projects for the Elmer Thomas Park,” McFadden said. “and that is the best part of Day in the Park.” McFadden also said that the Office of Campus Life accomplished tasks with the number of volunteers they received, but he thinks there were less volunteers this time than before, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, we didn’t let that stop us,” McFadden said. “We were able to set realistic expectations and projects to complete, which is exactly what we did.”
Black Student Association Vice President Akilah Charles said that she loved doing what she could to help keep Elmer Thomas Park, and the community, clean and organized.
“I love nature,” Charles said. “So doing anything to keep it organized was a pleasure to do. It’s also good to do community service every once in a while.”
The Black Student Association was one of a few groups assigned to paint bridges across the park.
Office of Campus Life Administrative Assistant Alannah Young said that she loves to help with volunteer work. “Knowing that I am helping others in the community,” Young said. “whether it be people in need or giving a fresh look to a well used piece of equipment, brings me joy on a daily basis.”
Young also said that she feels thankful to work in the Office of Campus Life, as it gives her a chance to give back to the community every now and then.
The Day in the Park volunteer event was unable to happen during 2020 due to the pandemic, so the paint on the equipment bridges, guards and gates was fairly worn before being painted.
PAC Member Kristi Alvarado said that she saw different groups working together and becoming acquainted with each other during her time of volunteering. “Not to mention,” Alvarado said, “I noticed what a fresh coat of paint can do.”
Alvarado also said that painting at the park was an eye-opening experience.
“Painting felt really good when you got to step back and see the difference it had made,” Alvarado said.
“My group worked on painting gates, and you could still see the bright yellow from the other side of the park” Art Senior Jarrett Bellflower, a solo volunteer helping with the group comprised of mostly PAC members, said that the group was assigned to help paint bridges and parking curbs as well.
“I felt like adding a press coat of paint to those areas made those areas look a lot better,” Bellflower said. “because it looked like they haven’t been painted in a long time, so I was glad I was able to be a part of making the park look better for the community.” Bellflower also said that people could do a lot to help the park during their time at it.
“I think people could clean up after themselves and their animals to give the park a cleaner vibe to people who are new to the park,” Bellflower said. “or regulars who spend a lot of time there.
I feel that more garbage cans could be placed more throughout the park, because the times I walk around there in the evening, you only see trash cans in certain areas of the park.”
And finally, Bellflower said that after all the groups finished, they met up to put supplies away giving closure for the event around noon.
“It was a great experience I will never forget and look forward to more opportunities like it,” Bellflower said.
For more information about future events or volunteer opportunities, contact the Office of Campus Life at 581-2217.